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Samir: The 'fat kid' who became a success at Flamengo

He was released by Fluminense for being too short and overweight, but 17-year-old centre-back Samir has fought back with rivals Flamengo to make the latest Brazil Under-20 squad.

Having been released by Fluminense, Samir underwent tests with local side Audax-RJ, where he was successful and was eventually spotted by giants Flamengo, who took him on loan.

After impressive showings for the Rubro-Negro, the club decided to purchase 60% of his economic rights.

Samir, now 1.88m tall, then went on to stand out at the prestigious Taça Belo Horizonte earlier this year, where Flamengo were defeated on penalties in the final by Grêmio. Samir was voted Player of the Tournament.

Now a member of the club's Under-20 side in the Copa do Brasil, Samir hopes to succeed with both club and country:

"I'm very happy to be selected. I've trained a lot and worked hard in games to earn my place. I have arrived at the Seleção and I don't want to give it up," he told Globo Esporte.

"I think the Taça BH was important. It was a great showcase and opened doors for me. I was champion of a few competitions [at Fluminense] but time passed. I had problems with weight and couldn't lose it. I was short and tubby. I was released. I was sad and had no confidence.

"I could take tests at Audax or Vasco. I preferred Audax as they were closer to home. I started playing and opportunities emerged. I won my spot and Flamengo gained interest.

"I need to think that [I can become professional] and to imagine good things. We all want to arrive at senior level. We must take these opportunities and the Copa do Brasil is a good opportunity."


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